Why Taking the Name of God in Vain is a Sin

Published June 2, 2020

My son Matthew (aka Cow) Shea makes me so proud as he writes about this appalling spectacle:

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“‘Is that your Bible?’ a reporter yelled.
“‘It’s _a_ Bible,’ Mr. Trump responded, and hoisted up the book so reporters could see.

Putting aside the fact that he randomly attacked innocent bystanders with tear gas to clear a way to the photo op, putting aside the fact that he didn’t ask for permission to do this and just forced himself on an unwilling church that was alarmed and disgusted by this, putting aside the fact that he went from taking this picture immediately to unconstitutionally proclaiming that he was going to make the military attack American citizens, and putting aside the cheap and easy (and true) jokes about how silly he looks holding any book and specifically this book in specifically this weird way:

It just seems like now would’ve been a great moment for literally any kind of moral leadership, word of wisdom, useful parable, even just a trite and familiar passage about Being Nice™. It would have so easy for him to just do… anything. He could’ve just… tried, at all. I know that he doesn’t actually read the Bible or know anything about it, and I know that listening to him read the Bible would probably make my skin crawl and I’m probably a hypocrite about this and many other things.

But to flagrantly use it as a prop like this is so WILDLY stupid and evil. He doesn’t crack it open. He doesn’t care. Somebody asked him in the moment if that was his personal bible and his glassy-eyed response was just “It’s *a* bible.”

He doesn’t give a crap about any version or variety of Christianity or biblical teaching or strain of philosophy or moral ideal. He doesn’t even try to talk about it. This is just a costume he puts on. He is just signaling to Christians everywhere “Look, I am holding your magic item, therefore all the violence I am eager to inflict on people is also covered with the magic you like so much.” It’s embarrassing, but it’s also offensive. It is a thin shell of candied Christianity coating a putrid maggot meatball he is about to ram into all of our mouths.

*This* is taking The Lord’s name in vain. Forget cussing. He is using callous heartless violence against people in pain, the meek and the poor, and while he stands on their neck to make himself seem taller, he announces to his victims proudly: “I’m on Team God, and neither of us give a shit about you”.

Spot on. This truly is taking the Name of God in vain and reveals why it is not a mere meaningless taboo but a grave evil that injures and kills people.

Today this dimestore antichrist is at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, turning the Catholic Church into a prop. Abp. Wilton Gregory responds:

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This is good. But what I would really like to have seen was Abp. Gregory standing at the door of the shrine as Ambrose stood in the Church at Milan and forbade the Emperor to enter without doing public penance for his slaughter of the people of Thessalonica. Maybe there is some legal reason I don’t understand concerning property rights that keeps him from doing something like this (I have a dim notion that the Shrine is run by the Knights of Columbus or something, so maybe it is not technically his turf. I dunno.) But it still should have been done by whoever runs that place.

Anyway, we cannot allow the Church to be made a prop of this violent, lawless regime. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.

118 Responses

  1. “It is a thin shell of candied Christianity coating a putrid maggot meatball he is about to ram into all of our mouths.”

    Oh wow, I was thinking that very thing. lol

  2. I like the local parish priest’s homily on it today. He came out and said it is not about race. It is about the evil in our hearts. The evil in the heart of a police officer that kills a helpless person. The evil in the hearts of those who riot and destroy the labor and lives of others who have nothing to do with any of this. The evil of those who are throwing all of our fight against Covid-19 overboard. We are called to higher things. Not to blame, because blame will escalate. Not to pick sides. But to elevate the human person, for that is what Christ calls us to be about. We can’t spew hatred at people and say we are about love. No matter how justified we believe we are for doing so. I liked that. I’ll have to do better aspiring to it.

    1. It is all about race. And not picking a side in an oppressor/oppressed dynamic is *always* to side with the oppressor. God sides with the alien, the orphan, the widow and the least of these against their oppressors. You side with the oppressor every single time. The Church teaches the Preferential Option for the Poor, not moral neutrality. Stop telling lies.

      1. Our priest called it. Christians are acting just like non-Christians and excusing wrong in the name of wrong. Advocating evil because it’s expedient. Taking the Gospel and hammering it into the mold of modern political and ideological agendas does nobody any good. That ‘s what he was saying. We’re supposed to be above that. We are suppose to strive for the higher way and lift up others along the way, not settle into the gutters and the pits of the worst around us. And you’ve not address why those who would die by the endless thousands due to mass gatherings and protests two weeks ago are suddenly expendable today. I would put those in the ‘least of these’ category. You certainly did. Why not now? Why are their deaths suddenly worth it? That’s what he is saying. Let the Gospel be reduced to political expediency, and the result is always a net bad.

      2. @Dave G…”Christians are acting just like non-Christians.”

        Sorry, but no. They are acting just like Christians—of a certain sort. Christianity is no more a guarantee of good behavior than any other faith, or atheism for that matter, is a guarantee of bad behavior.

      3. Looking at it from across the ocean, I might be wrong about this, but I think I know what the sermon was about.
        An evil man kills a helpless person because he enjoys killing, not because of any particular race or another trait.
        It’s because that man doesn’t want to get in trouble is why he’s targeting blacks. It won’t get him in trouble, or at least it will cause less trouble for him. It’s totally immoral, calculated evil.

        Making this about race leads down the same rabbit hole as it always does. There will be some mourning, some politician will build a career on this. If there’s a debate about anything, it’s going to be dominated by topics that have been discussed to death and leading to exactly the same conclusion and not convincing anyone.

        Making this about race is a very convenient shortcut for some that avoids looking at the core of the issue at hand. Eventually, racism will be redirected at another minority. The killer will just target that vulnerable group.

        See what is happening in South Africa. Sure some people are glad that the tables have turned and whites are now being murdered in cold blood, ousted from their land, white women are raped in the streets. You know who’s happiest about it? White supremacists because it reinforces their narrative that racism directed against blacks is justified because they’re savages that can’t function in a normal society. That’s even further reinforced by isolated cases of riots that went out of control or turned to vandalism and robbery.

        Go beyond this.

        If this needs to be a political issue, how about police brutality and complete lack of accountability? How about making this a matter of pride to the police force to purify themselves? Nobody is suggesting disbanding the police or replacing it with something else. Everyone agrees they’re necessary, it’s just that nobody’s actually talking how to best address this situation. It’s extremely convenient to politicians because it channels all the energy into pointless and fruitless discussions about racism.

      1. No, he’s right. Structural sin is always a dangerous slope to walk along anyway. Before you know it, you’re condemning someone as a sinner simply because they are part of something they may know nothing about just because of who they are. Not saying there is no such thing as larger structural sin. And I’m sure he’s seen his share of structural sin. The point is, structural sin is a small part, not they only form, of sin. It ultimately is about our hearts. The evil in them, and what we are called to be about – not political narratives set out by others who benefit in our fights and discord.

      2. Your “…The point is, structural sin is a small part, not they only form, of sin. It ultimately is about our hearts. The evil in them, and what we are called to be about – not political narratives set out by others who benefit in our fights and discord…” seems to me to be trying to avoid the issue by (1) over-generalising (it’s all about sin! – which we can all agree about), and (2) creating a false ‘either/or’: If it’s about the sin in our hearts, then it’s not (or perhaps not very much) about political narratives.

        It is no accident that George Floyd was black – and, for what I know, poor. That is, indeed, about ‘political narratives’ – and about racism.

      3. Structural sin is an obvious fact and a part of Catholic teaching you deny and shout down because you defend the structure of sin that oppresses minorities and the poor.

      1. We don’t know that yet, and as he said, it’s really about the evil in the officer’s heart. Reducing it to race is too simple. Just like the rest of the evils we are seeing. Saying it’s about where the latest political narrative stops cuts away at the spiritual realities that are happening.

    2. Your priest made a wearisome, pedantic point: racism is a subset of the larger category of evil. Which is true.
      But fails utterly to address the actual cause of the unrest in America today, which is racism. Racist policing, to be specific.

      1. Well, being from Africa, I’m sure he brings a different perspective, one that is welcome given the dumpster fire hot mess our society has become. Let’s face it. Last year, the story that everyone should have wept over is that, for the first time ever, the CDC says suicide is one of the leading causes of death among children as young as ten years old. That’s alongside unprecedented suicide rates among teens and young adults. Obviously something is wrong. And it’s not ‘them’. Yes, racism is there. So is police brutality. In a nation that has ongoing debates about how to protect kids from regular mass shootings in school, I wouldn’t be shocked that brutality across the board is a problem. Obviously we’re doing something wrong. Jumping on this as racism when we know nothing but the race of those involved is its own problem, and ignores the greater problems we’re dealing with. Those problems are the sins of our hearts, yours, mine, ours. By letting it be about racism, it’s about them and those and him. Looking at our hearts forces us to ponder our role in these troubles. It forces us to ask why, all of a sudden, thousands dead from Covid are just the price worth paying at best, or just not worth worrying about. Why people do or don’t matter, or we end up sounding just like those we oppose but with different labels we throw around. Being from Africa and divorced from our carefully crafted media narratives, he might just see things clearer than many a bishop who has been born and raised here. Or even an archbishop for that matter. I’d say listening might be worth our time.

      2. “People die of other things besides the evil I am defending, therefore the evil I defend is okay” is a standard tactic of your Cult.

        All it took was a civil rights protest for your Cult to whipsaw from “COVID IS A HOAX AND I GET TO BRANDISH GUNS IN THE STATE CAPITOL WITH MY MOB OF KOOKS OR I’M OPPRESSED!” to your phony handwringing and accusation of the oppressed.

      3. I think we need to talk about *elitism*. At the end of the day, the elite white people will brown nose wealthy brown people to prove how un-racist they are. Do I need to say they aren’t being honest…

        By the same token, brown people, who are utterly grateful because they have escaped their own brown “caste” system will say *anything* to their white overlords to prove their gratitude.

        The brown people, already many generations in with white power exerted over them aren’t such ready dupes.

    3. John Thayer Jensen. I would suggest it has little to do with political narratives since both sides are a hot mess from a Christian POV. And again, assuming this is racism base only on the race of those involved, if you think about it, might say more about us than we care to admit. It might also open a can of worms we don’t want opened.

      1. No, I think he nailed it. I’ve been asking in the last couple days for some stats to back up the claims being made and am not really hearing anything. In a week of news coverage, the press has produced no stats to back up what is being said. Before I go and judge something based on the races involved, I want to know the numbers. Meanwhile, as a Christian, I must concede that what we are seeing is a part of greater maladies. A nation with ongoing debates about arming teachers to protect against regular school shootings and where suicide is now a leading cause of death among children as young as ten shouldn’t immediately assume our problems can be reduced to a single slogan. Nor should we assume the problems are ones we can easily hoist on others as the blame. That’s why the good priest pointed out that blame has a way of escalating rather than solving. Anyone who has ever been in a disagreement with someone where it went to blame should know that first hand.

      1. He doesn’t. Nor do we. All we have right now to go by is the color of those involved. I think his point is that since we don’t know, don’t assume guilt or innocence based on the color of those involved. Instead, look to the spiritual ailments and evils that go beyond the smaller issue of race.

  3. Dave – it is most certainly about race. Bunch of white guys and gals run around with guns, Invade” a legislative building, screaming at the cops, tie up traffic, threaten people because they are tired of having to care about other people and not get haircuts or eat out of go to a bar; that they have to wear masks and that is a sign of oppression and nothing happens to them Other than trump saying they are upset because their lives changed. They are still alive. . .
    George Floyd allegedly passes a counterfeit $20 and he is dead. Ahmaud Aubrey goes for a jog, stops looks at a house being built, something I have done, and he is dead. Minority folks are suffering from COVID 19 disproportionately- both in terms of death and diagnosis. Minority folks are the greatest number of essential, non-medical workers in the US. Meat plants predominantly staged with minority workers are the greatest hotspots for the virus.
    People protest Mr. Floyd’s death, which ruined his life, and trump goes into “law and order”. If you can’t see the difference wow? Please spare me the concern about masks as do many trumponians will not wear them as a sign of their freedumbs.

    1. They weren’t killed because as obnoxiously wrong and overbearing and offensive as they were, they operated within the boundaries of the law. Breaking into businesses, killing business owners (there have been multiple fatalities in these riots, even if the press isn’t dwelling on them), assaulting people, destroying property and the living of innocent people (including, ironically, ethnic minorities) – are not within the boundaries of the law. This is not rocket science.

      As far as police brutality, I would like to see some stats. Really. In a week of coverage I have not seen one number produced about what is happening regarding police violence and race. How many blacks have been killed by cops? Were those cops all white? Are whites killed by cops? What are the proportions? I’ve heard nobody defend the horrific killing of George Floyd. And if found guilty, I think the officer(s) in question should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As I think any officer who so abuses his authority should be treated. In that, Mark is absolutely right. about police who see their role as protecting an serving versus dominating and threatening.

      Nonetheless, that’s all we have to go on. Until I see more stats and numbers, I’m not budging on using this to paint entire demographic groups or nations with some generic accusation any more than I would do to Chinese living in China or Brazilians living in Brazil.

      And again, I now see that a group of medical professionals have come out and supported the protests. This would be the same medical community that, only two weeks ago, decried protests and mass gatherings as a clear and immediate threat that could cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Now what does that mean? Were they just blowing smoke and mass gatherings have no impact on Covid after all? Or are they saying in this case, it’s worth killing thousands of innocents for the greater good? Again, this is what happens if we’re not anchored on more consistent principles than we’re currently seeing.

  4. BTW Mark, your continued false accusations aside, my points remain. The priest was right, and you are wrong. Perhaps the officer did what he did because of race, but what does that mean? Can you produce anything substantive to validate your other positions or the narratives being advanced? Can anyone? I’ve seen no stats at all in all of this. As for worrying about Covid, I am and have been. As I said, we opposed those protesting to push to open things up too soon long before this came along I spoke out strongly against those who were risking this because of those in my family who are at risk. But now, all of a sudden, people like you who were calling it murder to gather and want to open up two weeks ago are silent. Where is the consistency there? why don’t you explain yourself instead of falsely accusing others? Were you wrong when you said they were wanting to murder people for pushing mass gatherings and opening businesses? Or do you support the killing of thousands for the greater good? Try answering instead of accusing. That’s the Christian way, not accusing to avoid responsibility.

    1. “people like you who were calling it murder to gather and want to open up two weeks ago are silent.”

      No one I know, and certainly not Mark. I was telling people two months ago that we are going to experience a second wave of infections that will make the first look like a picnic. And why? Because I have studied both sociology and public health, with masters in both. the sheer amount of whining about “freedumbs” has been around for months. .

      1. Then you would be against the protests and the mass gatherings happening now.. If that’s the case, that’s fine. And no, Mark was pretty harsh toward those protesting and pushing to relax the restrictions. But we’re not talking about those who were running around and gathering to protest everything and open things up too soon. I also opposed doing that too carelessly. We’re talking about how, all of a sudden, those who were yelling caution against mass gatherings and store openings two weeks ago are now saying they support what just two weeks ago they opposed.

      2. What it never occurs to you to ask is, “Why am I so bent on defending racist injustice and murder that it never occurs to me to wonder why desperate people are willing to risk their lives to fight what I so passionately and doggedly support?” You are a dogged defender of evil.

      3. @Dave G. I absolutely am against the protests, unless: they are non-violent, if they include social distancing and masks, and every possible effort to avoid spreading this disease. But I would have to say that perhaps people considering the murder of a black man by a white cop perhaps of sufficient moral, social, religious, and political importance that they are willing to risk their lives to protest it. This is vastly different than the “right to life“ ammoseXuals who threaten violence if they can’t get a haircut, and can’t go out for a sandwich without resembling A Michael Bay movie.

        It is not the Christian way to avoid responsibility? You must know a different set of questions than I do, at least of the type that support Donald Trump, who is done nothing but avoid responsibility since he stole the office

  5. Oh, and I never denied the reality of structural sin. I simply said it, like anything, can be abused. It should point people to look at themselves and their role in greater institutional sins, not be used to point at someone else and say that they must be a sinner because of what they look like or where they are from.

  6. Oh, and I can’t figure out how to respond to more than one comment here, but I’m not a defender of racism. Another accusation you should take back. I simply reject the idea that racism stands alone as the all defining sin that Jesus can’t even forgive, which is how it is presented. Sure racism exists. It’s not uncommon here or anywhere, and my wife’s friend (whose ancestry is a fascinating mishmash of cultural backgrounds and insights) has told us stories that would make your hair stand on end. Her father, a successful businessman, has been stopped merely for being a black man in an expensive car. Once he had to stand along the highway as police dismantled his car, again for the sole reason of being a black man driving an expensive car. And this wasn’t a hundred years ago. On the other hand, she has also lamented where the discourse has gone. For instance, her children have gone to the best universities in America because of her dad’s money. Meanwhile, our kids are scraping by, working what jobs they can to get through college and community college just for a chance. It embarrasses her to hear ‘white privilege!’ abused and overused given the differences in our lifestyles, though we’ve told her no apologies necessary. It’s the life we chose. Nonetheless, I’m well aware of racism. For me, a former teacher (betcha didn’t know that), I believe the first place to deal with racial inequality is our schools and educational inequality. That is the crux of many of the racially charged problems, at least IMHO. I also don’t deny the existence of police brutality, though I think it extends beyond a racial narrative, though the two could occasionally overlap. I am against ignoring mountain ranges of problems and evils in order to target one molehill of politically expedient outrage used to cover the butt of a bumbling politician. That I am against. I prefer there to focus on the evil we all struggle with and make sure we don’t become part of the greater evils of our age. Which is why I think our priest chose the better way.

    1. I simply reject the idea that racism stands alone as the all defining sin that Jesus can’t even forgive, which is how it is presented.

      Why are you rejecting a claim that no one has made?

      1. I didn’t say they made the claim specifically. But there is such a thing as what we say and what we do. When we dig back to find out someone may have used a racial slur ten years ago when they where a teenager, or define people by this without ability for reconciliation or redemption, it sounds a lot like that’s what we mean, irrespective of what we say. That’s why the priest said what he said. Being from Africa, he shockingly doesn’t filter things through the prisms and narratives we’ve been conditioned to accept. After a lifetime of being blessed by working with people from various cultures and nationalities, I’ve found a great way to learn more about ourselves is to listen to outside perspectives.

      2. Cool! So you can reject an idea that you infer from what someone says ‘sounds like’ … something that you agree they didn’t say.

        I do not think that anyone is saying that racism is an all-defining sin. I don’t think anyone sounds like they are saying that. What people are saying – which seems fairly obvious to most of us – is that racism is a deeply-rooted sinful structure in America, and is what all the protests are about. Despite any generalisations about how we are all sinners, what is going on is about racism. The United States fought a civil war 150 years ago. “States’ rights” was the excuse; racism was the fundamental cause. That disease was not cured by that war. It continues today. Everybody knows this.

      3. No, I say that it does no good to insist we’re not saying it’s some all defining unforgivable sin when we act as if it’s an all defining, unforgivable sin. Consider how historical figures have been treated in recent years, sometimes for sheer proximity, and judged entirely based on that. Consider our tendency to don our merry McCarthy and dig back into people’s lives just to find any evidence they may have said something that we now insist is racist, and then proceed to attack. We may say we’re not meaning these things, but our societal actions suggest otherwise. It does no good to say we never drink when we’re drinking from a can of beer in our hands.

      4. No, I say that it does no good to insist we’re not saying it’s some all defining unforgivable sin when we act as if it’s an all defining, unforgivable sin.

        Mate, no one is acting as if it’s an all defining, unforgivable sin! Where in the world do you get that?? Everyone is saying that this business – and, indeed, a deeply entrenched sin in the American communal psyche – is racism. That is not saying anything about ‘all defining’, much less ‘unforgivable.’ God knows, America – and my country, New Zealand – has many deeply entrenched sinful habits. But this business is about racism.

      5. That’s exactly how – let’s say no small number – are acting. Again, the digging back into peoples’ pasts to find any proof at all that they may have said something that we could now consider racist. That’s not the action of people acting like racism is something wrong but we don’t want to over do it. Likewise, the idea that the slightest guilt defines and destroys the accused. The great Iconoclasm against the South (and increasingly against our entire heritage as a whole) was proof of that. Heck, I remember when a monument to Longstreet was attacked, and here in our neck of the woods, a monument to the war dead of – get this, the Union – was attacked because, well, someone was probably racist and that’s good enough. We won’t even get into the McCarthy-like searching for any book, song, movie, or production for the slightest hint of a possible racist undertone for the sole purpose of then condemning the products and individuals in question as racist. Remember the removing of an award named after Laura Ingalls Wilder because of racism. As if, well, that’s all she was, and deserves no more. A couple years ago, an English professor (that is, professor in England) I follow had to fight off an effort to have Tolkien’s works removed from his college because – you guessed it. Thankfully they backed off and were content with just condemning Tolkien as the racist and bigot he was, but allowing the books to remain in the name of scholarly openness. These are not examples of a ‘gee, racism is bad and we need to work to overcome it’ approach. It’s replacing Communism from the 50s with racism today and continuing on in glorious Red Scare fashion. None of which suggest anything other than how I have described our approach to the subject.

      6. @ Dave G.

        I keep reading what you have to say about racism being the Unforgivable define in sin, a point that no one has made except you, and I can’t help but keep thinking that you were missing the point. Especially when it comes to the confederacy, the reasons the Civil War was fought, and your dead giveaway use of the term “our heritage”.

        I would say that you’re going in for what-about-ismand bothsiderism big-time.

        Here’s my take on the propensity in the south to display statue celebrating confederate civil war heroes. Roberty Lee was considered a very honorable man, a very good man, in his time. And even though he took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, he headed the military part of an armed revolution against the government of the United. Whatever honor Lee had, he committed treason against this country, And was responsible for the deaths of many of his fellow countrymen on both sides of the war,

  7. ” I would really like to have seen was Abp. Gregory standing at the door of the shrine as Ambrose stood in the Church at Milan and forbade the Emperor to enter…” For the Archbishop to have done that, he would have to have known what Trump was going to do. As far as I know, he didn’t learn of it before he saw it on the news. Likewise the K of C, though I am troubled by the deafening silence of that organization.

  8. For starters Blacks are 2.5times as likely to be killed by cops then whites – https://www.statista.com/chart/21872/map-of-police-violence-against-black-americans/. In 2015 police killed 104 unarmed Blacks. In 2019 police killed 1099 pro-Keuka, 24% of them Black, while Blacks make up about 13% of the population. Both from https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/. Your stats, that you requested.
    I love they were obnoxious and operating within the boundaries of the law, but, wait for it they were Maskless and in a large group. In fact they see wearing masks as a restriction of their freedoms. So I guess it is ok for white folks yo behave like that, in your mind.
    Interesting I have seen no one supporting riots – not the looting, not the arson, not the killings – none of it. I have seen people supporting the protests and protesters. I have heard many people say that there us an extreme risk in not wearing masks to protest – including all public health officials. So please post the link about doctors being “unconcerned”.
    You keep going back to the COVID 19 “issue”. Many if not most I’ve the white obnoxious protesters said it wasn’t s big issue. The trump agree. So please be careful to condemn all who don’t wear jacks rather than “cherry-pick” a group.

    1. You present some stats, but not all. For instance, how many police who kill blacks are white? How many are black or of other ethnic backgrounds? How many whites were killed? What are the crime rates between blacks and whites? What are the arrest rates? What are the ethnic breakdowns among police violence in general? How many blacks are killed by whites in general? How many whites are killed by blacks? We all know blacks kill more blacks than whites kill blacks, which is logical. Most ethnic groups are the biggest threat to their own ethnic groups. But how are these in proportion? Who are cops more likely to be attacked or killed by? These – and probably a few others I didn’t think of – are what are needed to have a complete picture.

      As for the looting and riots, I’ve seen plenty supporting them. Even today I saw a headline that a restaurant owner whose restaurant was destroyed in the riots still supports the protests riots. We’ve seen plenty of support, including silly things like comparisons to the Boston Tea Party for justification.

      As for Covd, again I can’t speak for those who said it was nothing. I didn’t and I called out those I felt were not taking it seriously or saying egregiously nauseous things like ‘the old are going to die anyway.’ That’s because we are caregivers for my elderly Mom while two of my sons are front line workers. With that said – and this is the pertinent part – as recently as two weeks ago medical pros, journalists and politicians (and a few bloggers I can think of) were screaming about all the protesters and others gathering in crowds because it would – would – lead to more death and suffering for thousands of Americans. And yet now, all of a sudden, poof! I just saw that a collection of medical pros came out – and supported the protests. Supported? Just two weeks ago those same pros were saying mass gatherings posed a clear and immediate threat to thousands of Americans. Were they wrong and blowing hot air then? Or are they actually saying that this issue is worth the death of those thousands that the same politicians, medical pros, journalists and some bloggers I could name insisted will happen? That’s huge if you think about it. To say this is worth killing endless thousands of innocents is quite the claim. Is it?

      1. Neko. Andy gave me *some* stats. You do understand that to get to the reality of things, you need more than a few stats here or there. For instance, if I say what are the stats for the pandemic of white cops killing unarmed black men, I don’t want to see ‘Cops kill more blacks than whites.’ That tells me nothing. Who were those cops? Were they white or black? Were all the blacks unarmed and helpless? Were they threatening the life of cops or others? What are the overall stats and proportions we’re dealing with? The thought that we can repeat three or four stats over and over again and that’s enough may be good for 21st Century Americans who follow media narratives, but for most people, it isn’t and shouldn’t be.

  9. Are there rules here for comments – have one in moderation? Can we embed links? How do we respond to a thread that extends? Thanks

      1. The way to get around the inability to continue a conversation is just to comment with the heading of “This is in response to so-and-so”. It’s a lame-o system, but I can’t say I miss the Patheos bot.

      1. Thanks, I’ll try that Ben. Right now any reply I try to make under *any* name says “Leave a reply to Neko”

  10. in response to toughluck

    I can’t say why he took that approach, but I’m glad he did. I think what you say could have some truth to it. Racism is sadly a reality that likely won’t go away anytime soon. It’s in the human bloodstream. We all want to know who the ‘them’ is. His point is that when we wade into these things, making assumptions, throwing about blame, trying to take the actions of an individual and paint an entire demographic by it, condoning violence we would otherwise condemn – are all ways in which we are not doing the work God told us to do. God didn’t send us to get people to stop sinning so much as to get people to God. That is true in many things. Our job is to lift each other up and get closer to God. Heck, has yet a single person offered to pray for the officer in question? I’ve not seen it. I remember when, wtihin days, people were saying we should pray for the 9/11 terrorists. We should pray for the officer, his family, the rioters and looters, the victims, and the innocent. The minute we start letting politics or narratives or media spin set the course, we’ve already lost, even if we think we win.

    1. @Dave, For now, I’ll just say this (I’m homeschooling one of my most severely dyslexic kids, and have a bike graduation 🙂 today!)

      We have pretty good genes on both sides of the family–lots of people with “Dr.” in front of their names…but Dyslexia is a huge challenge running through our genes like a strong thread. The reason I’m throwing that out there is that it *forced* me to get off my high horse, and read up on the subject–and it IS such a fascinating subject that it helped me to be more open to considering other kinds of learning interruptions.

      At first I thought that they were just trying to make me feel better when I brought in my seven-year-old to the dyslexia learning center(about 1997). There were posters on the walls with the names of famous people who had a difficult time learning to read and write, and I hey–I had to admit that they were all great and even brilliant thinkers. There was another poster on the wall that said something like “never trust a brain surgeon that can spell!”

      My mother likes to brag that I could read at *two*–well–my kid was a disappointment who blew all of our expectations. He couldn’t read in the 4th grade. But wait–WHY was he able to read at the top 1% of the nation by the 11th grade? (great at Math also). What is my point?

      –*intervention*–*good school districts*–people who not only cared, but saw us–him! through the whole humiliating process. By the time my last kid, also a Dyslexic and a “lefty” came along, I was like “cool, she’s extra intelligent.”

      One of my middle children who happens to be just a middle of the road Dyslexic (wasn’t severe enough to qualify for intervention) once told me about a theory out there that he’d read about,which proposes that skill in reading and writing can be linked to the amount of generations that our forbearers –surprise! have been readers and writers. Genes. It has *nothing* to do with intelligence. Curiously, over time, when I have tried to explain this idea to others they –surprise!–called me a “bleeding heart liberal”. That pushed me along enough to realize that some people don’t *want* to account for learning differences. They actually prefer old stereotypes. They hold their grudges and superiority complex close to their heart. I’ve heard them stubbornly insist that white Europeans are intellectually superior. (My husband makes more money than my white siblings, but they AND their young upstart children STILL think this country, and MY family is somehow doing him a favor.

      So, *now*: Allow me to test you on the subject. Why do you suppose my husband and I choose to live in one of the most EXPENSIVE zip codes in the nation?

      If you guessed that we are trying to provide our mixed race children the absolute best learning opportunity we can *afford*, you guessed right! Ding! Ding! Ding!–Good public schools.

      Our older children–all accomplished in their respective fields, (as higher income earners) are well on their way to *giving back* by providing many poor brown AND *white* people with a social safety net. They are proud of being tri-racial, and *grateful* for all of the opportunities that have been given them. If we discriminate against *anyone* it’s lazy WHITE people with college degrees that think the world OWES them something on a platter just because they are *WHITE*. A couple of weeks ago someone told my husband that HIS relatives came over on the Mayflower. I knew my husband wouldn’t say anything back, so I answered, “well HE is 20% indigenous American. He’s also African: Nigeria, Mali, and Ivory Coast –Clearly a son of slavery. Guess who took *his* father under their wing?–The Jesuits. My FIL died with TWO advanced degrees in Engineering from UCLA and the College of London. Why did the Jesuits give him the boost he deserved? –Because they could *think* like Catholics. This came naturally to them.

      P.s. My homeschool student is nowhere to be found :/

      1. Well, I hope you found your homeschooler. That was very interesting, and I’ll kick around whether I ought to unpack more of my side of things for you. Again, this is Mark’s blog, not Dave’s Life.org. Though I also believe knowing more about people helps unpack why people do and think the things they do. So we’ll see. But thanks for that! It’s worth noting that we have a local school that specializes in helping children with Dyslexia. A woman at church moved from Colorado just to come here for her son. You wouldn’t think a state whose mascot is a man dressed like a nut would have so many quality institutions, but we do.

  11. Dave – if you want all those stats, use the Google Machine. Like you I was a teacher, and I would provide a starting place, which is what I did, and then say you do the research. Please provide some sort of link to assertions about folks supporting the looting and do on. A random person or two is not really enough. Again please provide a link to the medical professionals saying that the protests are supported. All the medical professionals I have read ir heard have offered deep concerns about the protests and the spread of the virus.

    1. Oh, I have been trying to scour the stats, don’t worry. And the more I find, the more I realize it isn’t what we are hearing. I fear that we frame it in ways in which you can only arrive at one conclusion or you’re Hitler. I don’t know how to provide links on this yet. But it’s not hard to find. Google ‘support for riots’ and it comes up. Thankfully, I will admit the pendulum is now swinging against it. Initially the knee jerk reaction was ‘oh yeah, it’s just buildings and that’s not important like life (which was wrong and stupid to say since in those buildings were actual lives), but I think as the riots got worse and – yes – people died, it became tough to dismiss it outright. So that’s one good development I’m seeing. The Atlantic just penned a piece finally condemning it. I’m seeing others jump on board. Plus, the protests are getting more coordinated and planned, and there is more police presence.. So hopefully the violent part passes soon.

      As for the gatherings themselves, just on the news today, again, it said a growing number of leaders – including Christian and Catholics leaders – are throwing their support behind the protests, while at the same time the same news show ran a segment about concern for spikes in C19. What does that even mean? As for where I get this from, I’m seeing these things on the news channels like CBS and NBC, also publications like the Atlantic, WP, NYT and WSJ, so not sure what you’re watching. In any event, they either call out the protests and say stop, or they explain why they’re willing to say ‘we’re concerned but we still support them.’ That means something to me.

      1. (It’s impossible to respond in the right spotO
        @Dave,
        In response to the statistic that 42% of cop killings are committed by black men–this means that white men are killing more cops. What if you looked at poverty and lack of education before skin color?

        50 years ago, even a *rich* black man couldn’t own property in our our neighborhood in Santa Barbara. To this day, I don’t believe a single black man owns a home there. Oprah might be the only black woman that owns property in the neighborhood of Montecito.

        In addition to systematic discrimination, consider the fact that we only recently discovered that *trauma* is carried on the genes, when studying survivors of concentration camps and their children.

      2. Unfortuantely Anna Lisa, we have to get into that all important proportion we always hear about when it’s pointed out that as many, if not more, whites are killed by cops than blacks. The proportion door swings both ways.

        And as a former teacher, as I said, I’m all for saying we look at education. I’ve said that should be ground zero for addressing racial disparity in our nation.

  12. bensnewlogin

    Never said otherwise. But since I hear non-Christians often say Christians are obliged to act according to a higher standard, I’m content with trying to hold us to that higher standard, even if I personally fail often in the attempt.

    1. Dave,

      I doubt you want to talk to me about it, but I used to exist, embattled in your position, until the people I protected (the beancounters) finally turned on me for being guilty by association.

      I can tell you all about it if you want to hear it..I think I could write and write and write, but I don’t want to because it is too disgusting and upsetting.

      Right now, I just want to exist without feeling any rancor. I lied to *myself*, so I wouldn’t have to face what was happening.

      “All lives matter” makes sense, and while true, it’s a terrible diversion from the haters and the abusers.

      1. Please, write away. I don’t agree with a lot of what i see you write, but you seem a decent sort. Plus, it’s Mark’s blog after all! 🙂

        I can sympathize though. I used to be a good agnostic liberal. Then one crazy day in college I brought up my support for affirmative action. I merely added that we can’t discriminate based on any race (that was in the 80s when there were stories about white businessmen being denied contracts because they were wight in deference to black businessmen even if the contracts weren’t as good for the companies in question that were denied). I was immediately informed that I was a racist who also feared minorities – and women! I didn’t even mention women, and there I was a sexist, too! Break one commandment and break them all I guess. That got me to thinking about all this open mindedness and diversity and tolerance I was hearing. So I get being turned against.

        But after leaving my major in politics, and having saw what little I saw in those days of that world, I have endeavored to avoid being drawn into political wrangling and narratives. After all, in politics, your opponent doesn’t disagree with you about the best way to reduce crime. Your opponent wants hardened criminals to go free so they can rape your daughters. That’s politics. Sure it’s fun to watch in a demolition derby sort of way, but bad to base national dialogue or personal ethics on, much less Christian principles.

        Right now, I’m seeing some serious crazy. A bunch of medical pros just came out and said they support the protests (that’s mass gatherings of thousands of people close together). And yet only two weeks ago, the same medical community was saying definitively that mass gatherings of thousands of people would kill thousand of Americans. in fact on the news this morning, I just saw a story about a growing number of religious and political leaders supporting the protests – followed immediately by a segment about leaders and medical pros concerned about the possibility of spikes in Covd-19. Think on that. That’s crazy in a ‘thousands may or may not die, but does it even matter?’ sort of way.

        In fact I’m hearing a lot about a lot right now, but seeing no numbers. In fact, in all the news stories I’ve seen about white racists cops killing blacks, I have yet to see a single number on the news channels I watch. And it would take many numbers to arrive at any conclusion. I don’t deny problems in racism, though I reject the laughable notion that racism is unique to one race. I don’t deny police violence and overreaction. Though when you hear Lego won’t promote any playsets with police themes or police characters you know we’re one step farther down on the stupid ladder, which sadly is the defining characteristic of our age I think. Speaking of which, I also believe our society is a hot mess dumpster fire that is killing people, including our children, and that could be a much bigger cause of the problems we’re seeing. Again, we don’t build a nation where suicide is now a leading killer among ten year old children for the first time ever and assume it must be everyone else’s fault. That’s something we’ve all labored to accomplish.

        I therefore laugh at the notion that it’s all one colored state or the other colored state that’s the problem. That the press chooses to frame it that way and politicians want it that way is logical. It’s what they do. As a Christian, however, I try desperately to avoid going there because, again from my meager years majoring in politics, i learned quickly that truth and political narratives are seldom the same.

  13. Six self-congratulatory, straw-stuffed graphs of deflection to say political rhetoric is political rhetoric.

    And I don’t believe for a minute you were ever a good liberal agnostic.

      1. Thank you. I need to learn the new rules – just as I got discus minus the nanny sort of “learned”.

      2. Neko,

        what kind of zombie writes reams of commentary denying that racism has anything to do with police brutality against black people (and just to make it more nauseating, wraps it up sanctimony)?

        A sane person who has tried to look at as many facts and figures as possible, listen to both sides of the arguments, and think critically without blindly following the latest wave of media hype., that’s who That’s not being a liar, just FYI

    1. If you’re going to call me a liar based on my not seeing things the way you do, then I’d say you’re everything I’ve come to expect from the modern Left. Oh, and I was quite the agnostic and the liberal, until people like you helped open my eyes to the reality. Just saying.

      1. @ Dave G.

        “Oh, and I was quite the agnostic and the liberal, until people like you helped open my eyes to the reality. Just saying.“

        Well, that caught my attention. First, there was the reference to “the left“. And then something that sounds like a number of people I used to encounter who would say, “I was always very supportive gay people until they started doing X. But now I see them for who they really are, and now I am against them. ”

        My usual response was, “I don’t believe that for a minute. If you knew gay people, Or anything about the subject, or what the gay rights movement is ACTUALLY about, in general, you wouldn’t be making statements like that, or believing stuff like that, or taking the behavior of an isolated person and claiming it is typical of all gay people everywhere..“

        Your story is you used to be a firmly committed liberal and agnostic— but then someone like Neko was mean to you, and you realized that the causes you supported and believed in the, the deity you were admitting MIGHT exists. Well, suddenly, there you were, a committed liberal and agnostic no more, but a conservative and a true believer.

        There wasn’t philosophy or science, just feelings?

        Ok.

      2. bensnewlogin heh, I’m always amused at how much thought people put into folks who use the word ‘left’ when they frequent sites dedicated to talking about people on the ‘right’. But believe as you will. It is a blog after all, that sort of unreal world. Of course I didn’t just change because of Neko like people It was a start when I realized what I came to realize, and that’s liberals are no more open minded, tolerant, caring, or anything than conservatives. In fact, sometimes far less – depending on the people in question. But the illusion that somehow liberals were anything this or that, was clear as soon as I was called a racist (and sexist – still weird) for daring to question even one jot of a liberal narrative. Just like being called a liar for the same. See the trend?

      3. I’m not calling you a liar because I disagree with you; I’m calling you a liar because I think you’re a fake. I mean, what kind of zombie writes reams of commentary denying that racism has anything to do with police brutality against black people (and just to make it more nauseating, wraps it up sanctimony)? A troll, that’s who.

  14. To Dave about stats. Your constant refrain that you want specific numbers is tiresome. The fact is that Blacks are more apt to be killed by cops than whites. Who is doing the killing in terms of color of the cops is a deflection – we as a country have elevated cops to a semi-militaristic force. That is part of the problem. The larger part is what you refuse to recognize – the killing of Mr. Floyd was a spark to a drier and drier kindling. Blacks are disproportionately affected by the virus; Blacks make up the largest chunk of folks considered essential who are not medical personnel; Blacks have lower access to quality health care; they have less access to quality education. Mr. Floyd was a spark. Yes, it was a terrible spark, but it was the spark.
    The response to the protests, NOT the looting, stands in stark contrast to what occurred when whites were/are protesting the “lockdown”. The inability to get a haircut, go to a bar or out to eat us nothing compared to struggling to eat, to find health care, get an education are nothing.

    1. If the facts are that, then show the stats versus others. Now, let’s set aside the problem with modern law enforcement. Nobody is saying there is no problem there. Nor am I saying there is no problem with racism. Both of those are as old as dirt and hardly unique to our time. Though in our time we are the ones to do something about it. And the two could overlap But right now we’re saying it’s OK to kill Americans for the cause (experts are saying this will result in C19 spikes, but also supporting the protests – do the math).

      As for stats, yes I want stats. For instance, is C19 hurting minorities across the board or only in certain areas? Heck, is problems with white police and blacks universal or only in certain areas? And again, what about the racial breakdowns across the board? Are whites cops killing blacks more than whites? Do more blacks kill cops than whites? Do more black cops kill whites? There are dozens, if not hundreds, of stats to look at.

      The growing George Floyd is our Pearl Harbor could also be George Floyd is our Archduke Ferdinand. Right now your’re basically saying the plight is so bad, and so singularly the fault of only one part of the country, that there simply is no end to the deaths and suffering we’re willing to cause for this. Here are a few stats, that’s good enough.

      No it isn’t. I just read a wonderful post by a Chinese citizen now living here in the US. She pointed to a tendency in Communist China that she sees happening now. It’s on Facebook and worth the read. The takeaway quote was this:

      “throughout history, wherever there are humans, there is injustice. However, when events are interpreted not as the fault of individuals, but rather, as a fault of a certain group, it creates hostility between large numbers of people.”

      That’s true. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t. I get that most politicians, the entire news media, almost all religious leaders, celebrities,professional athletes, business leaders, and even police and military individuals are 100% behind this being worth spreading C19 for. And when that many in a nation are united for a cause, it must always be right, correct? Actually, no. And given where things go when such a coalition for a cause ends up being in error, it might be worth asking a few more questions and wanting a few more numbers before we start happily building more coffins for those we are now prepared to let die for the cause.

      PS. Please remember I was against opening things too quickly and railed against those who were flaunting restrictions and jeopardizing people like my Mom and sons. So, keep that thought.

      1. You are missing what I am saying – Mr. Floyd’s death was a spark in overly dry kindling. It really doesn’t natter the color of the cops doing the killing of Black folks -the joy is cops are doing it. They are doing it with impunity. I am saying that our country has a major sin racism – it is systemic, it is de facto, it is indirect -it is the US.
        Rather than focus on cops killing Blacks, I would urge us to examine how our society, our structured keep Blacks relegated to the “back of the bus”. Rather than rail against the demonstrations, which in terms of public health are beyond problematic we should ask why dies our society look at folks who work in grocery stores, for example, as less than important, and recognize that many of these folks are Black and/or minority. Rather then be “sparky” about who has said what about the protests, and I have yet to find public health officials supporting the protests- supporting the protesters yes and what they are protesting, but not supporting the actions, we need to find ways to move our society to a place of equality.
        I am worried about the protests as well – my two daughters are labeled as essential workers, one us s social worker who us pregnant and works with homeless kids; the other works for Hospice. Our son is a cop in Florida, a front line worker, do I get your worry. My wife and I are both kart of the vulnerable population and our big trip us grocery shopping and Sitting on our porch. So I get the worry. I am beyond terrified with rapid reopening and reading test cases are going up, and mist likely will spike after this time. I am terrified that our 7 year will get the Multisystrm Inflammatory Syndrome. So I get your worries in spades. What I don’t get us your refusal to recognize the manner in which, the US social, political, judicial and economic Systems are stacked against the Blacks.

      2. I think your answer to Dave is spot on. He’s pulling a jack, just asking questions that have no real answer to them. What he’s missing is that cop should not be killing anyone unless it is a live shooting type of situation, or they need to prevent the needless death of someone else. having worked in law-enforcement myself, I am well aware that there are a lot of bad cops. I’m also aware that most cops are not bad. But if you have a situation where there are 10 bad cops who are killing people, and 2000 cops that know about it, you don’t have 10 bad cops, you have 2010. I have a great deal of respect for police officers. They have a very difficult job. But like Christians, they should be held to higher standards than those Dave is willing to apply.

        I have been predicting for several months that there is going to be a second spike, and based upon the figures from the 1918 flu epidemic, I’m predicting that it’s going to be far worse than the initial one. We already see this in an article I read in this morning‘s paper, where cases are going up in both Arizona and Florida, several weeks after they opened up. Now, people who shouldHave been acting more responsibly in the public interest are saying, “maybe we opened up too soon.” Ya think? Really? I have only one year of epidemiology, and I could tell it was a bad idea

        My husband works in a hospital, and Has to see several Covid patients every day. I remind him every day to make sure that he observes all protocols very carefully, And not to touch his face no matter how much it itches unless he’s just washed his hands.

      3. I remind our kids about being safe daily only to get, and I hope your husband doesn’t say this, “don’t worry I got it under control.” Yeah, it is a virus, and no one gas it under control. I respect the police as well; the vast, vast majority are wonderful human beings doing a next to impossible job. Yet all it takes is one of two stupid bad cops and they are all tainted – look what happened in Buffalo yesterday. Regardless of the projects, I agree, there will be a se one spike, then several waves. The Flu Pandemic is so instructive. I have no work in epidemiology, but I can do stats and thus grand reopening scheme is bound for a mess. All it takes to recognize that is common sense.
        Your comment about Florida has me do worried about our son and grandson. I do wish our “leaders” had some sense of the power of science and history. Please keep on your husband about safety; my sister-in-law had the virus and 7 weeks later she is starting to recover.

      4. No, you don’t get to say America is one step off a racist state of nothing but racism – but please, no proof except that which helps the assertion: And yes, I’m Jack in that I prefer to resist popular narratives unless when convenient, given the track record of popular narratives. Anyone can prove anything with the old ‘only stats that help please.’ So, here’s a couple I dug up:

        “from the 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, Census data, FBI Uniform Crime Reports:

        Black males are 6 percent of the U.S. population. Black males are responsible for 42 percent of cop killings in the last decade.

        In 2015, a cop was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was likely to be killed by a cop.”

        See how that works Andy and bensnewlogin? Now, that really says nothing on its own because there is more than those two stats. But just think of all I could say if I insisted those two stats are the only two that count!. Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’. And that’s just not something I’m worth hanging a spike on Covid for. Or the death of anyone, including those who have been hurt, assaulted, or even died in the subsequent riots.

      5. @ Dave g.

        “Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’. “ there is absolutely no one saying that, or anything close to it. If you can’t argue honestly, please don’t argue at all. Or at least admit that you’re not engaging in an argument, but polemics.

        But in point of fact, what I have said is that I support the protests, but not at the cost of further lives lost and further strain on our healthcare system. Protest all you wish, But maintain social distance, wear a mask, and keep your hands off your face. And looting and rioting are not part of any legitimate protest.

        Here is what I wrote on Monday to our local, major metropolitan newspaper. They pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole thing. Unfortunately, they chose not to print it, because they will print my letter is frequently, but they won’t print them if they get a little too mean.

        In response to several days of riots, protests, and looting, Glorious Leader tweeted today his decision to declare that ANTIFA is a “terrorist organization“, despite three big problems. First, ANTIFA means anti-fascist, and describes Eisenhower, Churchill, and our fathers who fought against Nazis 80 years ago. Second, it is by no means obvious that the troubles are led by anyone, or comprised primarily of people either far left or far right. It’s not like those armed insurrectionists that invaded the Capitol grounds in Michigan a few weeks ago, whose far-right political posture was made quite clear.

        Thirdly, ANTIFA is a movement, not an organization. It has no recognizable leaders, no meeting place, no organizational structure, flag, finances, records, or membership lists. It also has no recognizable characteristic uniting it. It’s participants are not all young, or black, or even far left.

        I am a white, centrist, middle class man approaching 70. 50 years ago, I protested against the Vietnam war, not because I was far left, but because it was WRONG– wrong for our people, our country, Vietnam, and the world.

        So, am I a terrorist? Can you arrest us all? Because…

        I AM ANTIFA!

      6. Well stated – Dave seems to be lost in some rage state and projecting like a demon. I don’t understand that at all. I too protested the war in Vietnam, because it was wrong; just as I protested, though not in the streets the war in Iraq. I protest the trump and like you my wife and I are ANTIFA.

      7. @Dave,
        I don’t think anybody here feels good about the lack of social distancing at protests. I for one did not participate other than honking for small clumps of people on street corners, BUT, I *totally understand the outpouring of grief. I heard that Mr. Floyd was calling out to his long dead mother when he was on the ground. That broke my heart. When I see them carrying images of him, I know he was the son of a mother who loved him. Imagine the faces of your own sons. Imagine what you would have felt if God showed you that one of them would die in the manner of Mr. Floyd. I think that you would move heaven and earth to make sure that didn’t happen. Put your own son’s beautiful face on those placards. Look at those people grieving(forget about the messed up individuals that came out for the wrong reasons) Your own heart will be overwhelmed with grief and gratitude for their sense of solidarity to a brother. Words and arguments will seem embarrassing. Sterile. An outpouring of grief is hard to contain. Thanks be to God for people who have hearts big enough to contain grief for the other.

        Btw, that very thing–grief–is what first punctured my conservative bubble. There are several internet priests that blog, whom I would read at the beginning of Catholic blogging. It was the *brutality* of their words that initially shocked me. I remember locking horns with one of them briefly, stunned. All I could think of was, “My God! HIs heart is the size of a little walnut!” I still see his face on the New Advent site, and think, “the poor, poor man! How hellish to harbor so much negativity.

      8. Anna Lisa, I’m not sure what people are saying, since it’s all over the place. I just watched the director of the CDC basically say there will be spikes from the protests. While he did from some of it as resulting from police actions (teargas, arrests and the like), he nonetheless conceded that it is simply the gathering of large numbers in packed spaces for long periods of time that will also cause spikes in C19. And yet, again, no followup with ‘that’s why we must be cautious and back down or refrain from more than ten people’ or anything else we heard as recently as two weeks ago. That is the massive problem in this. They are literally saying there will be spikes, which translation from two weeks ago means thousands will die, but apparently it’s now OK, if not a bit bothersome. You seem to get the problem with this, as I’m sure others do as well. But I’m not hearing that needed next step of ‘therefore, no more than ten, etc.’.or ‘let’s stop the mass protests for this time since we don’t want spikes in Covid19 that everyone now is saying will result.’ That’s the problem.

  15. Dave your white privilege is showing. To stats, what you presented explains why I said your drive for stats is tiresome. That is why I provided a couple and stopped. That you can’t recognize the history of the US with regard to race is sad – ask Native Americans about their lives; ask Hispanic folks about their lives; ask Black about their lived – yes the US is racist. We, as a country have to I Overcome that and it begins with recognizing the facts about the lives of those not like us.
    Your railing about the COVID virus is strange – I have not supported the protests – I am as I said scared by the activities. I have no reason to see why you are “wired” about them so much.

    1. Andy, please dispense with the sad and lame ‘I’m losing the argument, quick, to white privilege.’ Of course stats can be lied about – we all know the saying: Statistics never lie, but liars use statistics … except for the press, which lies without the need for stats.’ I refuse to label an entire nation by one quick condemnation. It has yet to produce good fruit in the long, sad story of human history. And because I have no reason to trust those who insist I must say so is another reason.

      Now, if you are a racist who despises people of color, I certainly invite you to repent of such an egregious sin and work to help end all bigotry and discrimination. A worthy cause. But don’t drag it down into political expedience just because Biden was stupid enough to say what he said. That sort of exploiting racism and violence and death and suffering because now it’s beneficial, while just a few months ago it wasn’t, is likely one of the great offenses creeping up into the divine nostrils in our present age.

      As for America? I prefer to remember ours as a good country that has worked to solve its own problems over the years in a world where its sins are shared by all, but often by those who have been content with keeping those sins until forced to do otherwise (word from a Nigerian priest who taught at a local RCIA a few years back). I’m fine working to resolve racial tension. I also want to end racial hatred rather than encourage it for political gain (another grave sin). Police brutality? In our society, what do we expect? With mass shootings, skyrocketing suicide, drug addiction off the charts in an age of unhinged rage and arrogance, we imagine we wont’ see other problem? Plus it would be nice if we look at things we might be guilty of rather than invoking the pharisee venison of ‘Oh God, thank you I’m not like those other racists or whatever over there who are obviously the problem. Remember that the vast majority of high profile men who have been snagged in the #MeToo era were quite open about their superior liberal fealty to feminism and women’s concerns.

      So again, if you hate minorities and blacks, by all means repent and work to do better. If not and you’re not satisfied with substituting bigotry for bigotry per the marching order of those trying to get as many Americans to hate each other as possible, then join in and dispense with tired and stupid leftist bilge and work with those trying to find the better way. The way that God would have us find.

      1. I have no idea where or how to respond to your diatribe. You obviously have issues with the history of the US. You obviously have problems with systemic, institutional racism found in the US. You have wrapped yourself up in some cocoon that gives you profound insights. I wasn’t losing an argument with you; rather I was allowing you to expose exactly what you exposed of yourself – a sense of outrage, a sense of superiority. I never said I was better than anyone else, in fact if you were to look at the majority of my comments I admit I am not all that good. I gave learned though over the many years if my life that when people make the arguments you make they are hiding something. I bud a good evening.

      2. Andy, of course you can’t, because you accept the rather lame, and borderline evil and racist, leftist narrative that only cares about blacks as long as they stay in place and vote Democrat. Which is what this is all about. I get my view because of my black friends and coworkers and religious leaders and those blacks who aren’t leftists and thralls of the Democrats who don’t like what the left does to them. Not that they haven’t seen racism in our country. My wife’s best friend has seen it first hand. Her father, a wealthy businessman, has been stopped for the crime of being a black man driving an expensive car. Once he had to stand on the side of the road and watch police dismantle his car because he was a black man driving an expensive car. With that said, she’s also embarrassed by the stupid ‘white privilege’ bilge since her children – because of her wealthy father – have had the best in life including all expenses paid to the best universities (and not always responded in good order despite that) while our sons – white to the core – are struggling and scraping to put themselves through our local state college. She often apologizes for that and we tell her it’s no big deal. My sons don’t matter any more to good white liberals than her and her kids do unless they fit the all important narrative. Just like a friend we have who we met in RCIA who is a black man and a police officer. He sees the problem in modern police though, like sane people, he sees it as an overall societal problem that needs fixed. Don’t expect a society where hate,rage and mass killings are the vogue to produce police that don’t have issues.

        Of course the good white liberal isn’t interested in any of these things, any more than they are interested in any of these blacks who don’t toe the line. They prefer stupid narratives like the 1619 Project where slavery apparently doesn’t even exist until evil Europeans and Americans arrive to invent racism and slavery. It’s stupid, and per many from other parts of the world – like our African priest – extremely offensive to think their sufferings and historical plight that can’t be linked directly to white conservative America doesn’t matter. Again, my wife’s best friend is a gem in this: descended from slaves from two separate lineages – French slave owners and Asian slave owners (the African slaves bought by Muslims and apparently sold to Asians centuries ago). She’s often quite bemused at the good white liberal narrative that racism was only an American or European thing and only slavery in America was really that bad or that racism only existed in America over the years. Of course we explain to her that her ancestors’ sufferings don’t matter, just like she doesn’t matter. Just like Muslims and our Arabic friends from church who don’t want Christian nations to eradicate their Christian heritage don’t matter. Or the majority of Native Americans (like my wife’s family who is legally Native American) that don’t give a rip about the Washington Redskins don’t matter to good whit liberals. My wife and her Native American grandmother are proud of America, so they are your typical unpeople in the eyes of the American Left.

        Or, just like blacks killed in inner city violence or whites killed by cops (we won’t even mention whites killed by black cops) don’t matter. As Biden said, you ain’t black if you ain’t voting Democrat – which is what this is about. Sure there are blacks who will ride the wave: blame others, pillage, riot, loot, kill (mostly blacks in black communities) because they can just blame white people per good white liberals who continually expect the least from black Americans. My wife’s friend, who has struggled with abuse in her relationships with two black men, is not happy that good white liberals seem fine with them doing that and think if she just blames evil white America all is well. But for me, as a Christian, I actually want racism dealt with so my Black (and Arabic and Asian) friends never have to face those looks or that treatment because of their ethnicity. Likewise, as a Christian I don’t want to exploit them or keep them down as cannon fodder for a good political campaign. And since I actually exist, I don’t want a nation where police are becoming too quick to resort to violent means to resolve issues. But then I don’t want a nation where suicide is now one of the leading causes of death for children who are my youngster’s age either.

        Does that make sense to you? Do you see what I consider to be the actual cocoon of same-think?

      3. Dave – you have no idea what I accept or don’t accept. You have no idea about my political stance. That us more than sad, because you are making statements about me. Yes, I said your white privileged is showing – it is showing because you cannot see the subtle advantages you have. For example, you gave said you are caring for your mother, and bless you for that, but you can do that. It appears you gave the wherewithal to make that bearable. Many non-white families do not have that wherewithal, but still have to do so. Many non-white families struggle with poverty, many struggle with having yo work at essential jobs, and then come home to care for loved ones, many struggle with the lack of appropriate housing to care for their loved ones.

        You showed your white privilege with this: “ As Biden said, you ain’t black if you ain’t voting Democrat – which is what this is about. Sure there are blacks who will ride the wave: blame others, pillage, riot, loot, kill (mostly blacks in black communities) because they can just blame white people per good white liberals who continually expect the least from black Americans.” Maybe rather than try to explain your feelings away examine them.

        White privilege as was explained to me By one of my very bright students in the ethics class I taught, is the feeling that minority students Have about school. They feel they have to outperform their white peers in order tongetbthevsame grade. They feel that their work is seen as inferior when it is turned in. And I can attest that is how many white faculty members behave.

        When I read or hear people say I have Black friends I cringe. That statement us so culturally loaded that it is painful. You mention Christian behavior. Jesus never said I have a Samaritan friend, or Jewish friend – he saw as all God’s children, without distinction ir as a badge of inclusivity.

      4. Sorry Andy, you’ve made statements about me. You can’t say ‘gee Dave, white privilege blah, blah blah’ and then be shocked when I step in to correct you with assumptions based on what you assumed about me. Oh, and like structural sin, I never said there is no such thing as ‘majority privilege’ in America, just like anywhere else in the world Obviously the majority of any society typically (though not always) has advantages. But like structural sin and a host of other topics, it’s a molehill of truth upon which the left then builds a mountain range of BS.

      5. Dave, if you don’t see how your denial of the systemic, institutional racism is part and parcel of the US, what else can I assume? That you in your statements you assert you prefer not to follow popular narrative… I stated I don’t know his any times that the death of Mr. Floyd, brutal and reprehensible as it was, is a spark. A spark in an already dry, ready to erupt kindling. That you in your writing fail to see that the kindling exists, and us called racism is the problem.

        White privileged by the way is all to often unrecognized by the person espousing it; in fact privilege in general hides behind anyone can do it – whatever happens to be discussed. I am examine my “life” often trying to see that I don’t intentionally or unintentionally dismiss other people’s concerns/complaints As being a popular narrative or that gee if I can do then they can.

      6. Andy, I never doubt the existence of such things, as I explained that my friends and many others I know, have experienced them.

        Let me try this. We just watched the movie My Cousin Vinny the other night. A fun romp and apparently, per my oldest son (who is majoring in Constitutional Law) not at all inaccurate where legal proceedings are concerned. There is a moment – and it was on purpose – where the DA (played brilliantly by the late, great Lane Smith) is giving his opening statement. He’s talking to the jury in a funny and condescending way, explaining truth and its definition and importance. Then he puts his hands out in an important gesture and says these are things that our ancestors brought over from England! And the screen immediately goes to a black woman on the jury That was not an accident, and it was brilliant. The movie, by the way, is known for preaching with subtly, such as its clear opposition to the death penalty without hitting the audience on the head.

        I explained to my sons that the scene, deliberately done, was an excellent example of how subtle structural and institutional sin and racism can be. I then regaled them of a time in my youth I remember when Band-Aid brand bandages came out with new a ‘flesh colored bandage!’ I’ll leave you to figure out the glaring flaw in that. I explained those are examples of how things like racism can be in a society and we don’t even think about it. And when we don’t think about little things like words and first aid products, there’s a good chance we’re missing it in bigger issues as well, like my wife’s friend’s dad getting pulled over for the crime of being a black man with an expensive car, or assuming a black man will be more violent than a white many because of an isolated set of statistics (or, we should say, vice versa). .

        That is how I see it and explain it to my sons. I merely caution them to be wary of politically charged and expedient abuses of such realities since, more often than not, such abuses can end up solving no problems at all while creating entirely new problems down the road. That’s why our very African priest took the high road because as an outsider, it took him no time at all to see the subtle flaws in what is going on. And kudos for him and those who have soared above the fray. After all, that’s what makes America such a fine nation, our willingness to look at ourselves and correct the sins and evil of the world that we have all too often embraced ourselves. It’s just when we create new problems along the way that we end up once more dropping the ball.

      7. I have never watched My Cousin Vinny, so I will take your word for it. You and I disagree I think most clearly about America’s ability to look at itself and correct ourselves, had we dine do we would have an entirely different country. I base my thoughts on almost 50 years of watching our country, I almost 70, and see at best 1 step towards followed by 1/2 step back if not more. I agree with you though about the protests and COVID. As we, my wife and I live near a city that was strung out with protests for a few days, I am terrified about the possible spike and what that means when many of the city folk ‘take to the hills” In search of places to go outside. Take care and I pray you and your lived ones stay safe.

      8. What you wrote Anna Lisa was not a downer – it is an unfortunate part of life. Your comment about Mikey describe what all too often folks miss – they are persons, they have dignity, they have life and they want to live it. We need to recall and live that with them always, although it is not easy.
        Your family sounds much like my extended family. Money, appearances if money were the themes I grew up with. I was an only child, and I can’t count the number of times I heard if you weren’t here we could have done ;;;;. Here was a constant competition among my parents and aunts and uncles as to who had what. In many ways I was the “outcast” – the dumb jock, though it was basketball that allowed me to start college; I was the cousin no one wanted to hang out with Unless there was physical work to do. I do know that feeling. In fact because of life choices (not always good let me hasten to add) I Have had little contact with my extended family in the past 40-50 years. I couldn’t stand their attitudes and they couldn’t understand mine.
        I hope your 20 somethings were ok after the protests. Take care Anna Lisa, you are living the life that God has planned for you – that is what the priests, yes we were married at a concelebrated mass/ceremony, told my wife and I. I believe that for all of us.

      9. Dave G wrote:

        Police brutality? In our society, what do we expect?

        Well, there you have it. I mean, mass shooting and suicide, so when a black guy tries to pass a counterfeit bill, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

        This is the logic from one who has seen fit to lecture liberals at tedious length on race (or not-race, as the case may be). Because American exceptionalism.

  16. @Dave G said:

    Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’.

    Liar. No one said this.

    1. If two weeks ago you were among those saying that people rushing out to protest and attend mass gatherings at beaches and other venues were going to kill thousand,s and now you’re saying you support people going out to protest by thousands in mass gatherings, yes, you’re saying it. Or you could argue people and experts were blowing hot air and BS two weeks ago when they were decrying everyone gathering outdoors in mass gatherings. There is that possibility. I can’t be both.

      1. I’m sorry. Maybe ALL CAPS will work? Dave G. wrote:

        Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’..

        Please block quote the person here who’s said anything like this. You can’t, because no one has. You made it up to boldly defy it.

        If you’re not an on-the-books, by-the-playbook troll you do a dandy impersonation of one.

      2. So folks here are saying if people gather in mass gatherings to protest, which people here seem to be supporting, it won’t result in the deaths of thousands? No big deal? Let’s get the sporting events and outdoor concerts back in gear since apparently gathering in large numbers in close spaces for hours on end won’t hurt anyone! Or are people saying that violating social distancing rules will cause spikes in Covid-19 which translates into increased cases and the deaths of thousands, so we don’t support the protests. Which one? Just to be clear, so I can correct my observation if I was wrong and people are opposing the protests or are saying that social distancing is no big deal and we should at least end all restrictions where outdoor gatherings are concerned. If the clarification shows I spoke in error, I’ll happily concede the point.

      3. “ So folks here are saying if people gather in mass gatherings to protest, which people here seem to be supporting, it won’t result in the deaths of thousands? No big deal?”

        Nothing that this LIBERAL said. Quite the opposite.

    2. bensnewlogin, then please say exactly what you are saying about C19 and the protests and social distancing.

  17. @ Dave G: “Why can’t all you white liberals be more like my rich black friend?”

    Really?

    There are more straw men in your screed than anyone has the time to address, which of course is the point.

    1. Yes, it’s always a bummer when good white liberals are asked to listen to inconvenient minorities. Of course even though she doesn’t like Trump, I don’t know if she’ll vote for Biden, so she may not even be black! 😀

      Oh, and you broke a minor progressive rule back there. As a good liberal, you’re first supposed to call me an idiot for failing to conform to leftist dogma. If I don’t toe the line, then you call me a liar and attack my character. If that doesn’t work then you are free to call me a Nazi, racist, homophobic bigot, Islamaphobe, misogynist, or any combination thereof. Proper steps should be followed after all. Though we’ll let it slide since it is a new blog and such minor breaches of liberal etiquette can occur in such circumstances. .;)

      1. “ Oh, and you broke a minor progressive rule back there. As a good liberal, you’re first supposed to call me an idiot for failing to conform to leftist dogma. If I don’t toe the line, then you call me a liar and attack my character. If that doesn’t work then you are free to call me a Nazi, racist, homophobic bigot, Islamaphobe, misogynist, or any combination thereof”

        You have a whole story you are telling yourself of what we “liberals” are supposed to be doing— well not a script so much as a caricature of an army of straw men. At yet you claims that is what we “liberals” are doing to conservatives. I guess we should never quote your own words back to you.

        Or, since that is the story, you’re tellin* yourself, then why are you here?

      2. bensnewlogin, it’s from 35 years of watching it happen. Since I began paying attention in high school, the only thing more numerous than the stars in the sky are the times I’ve watched liberals accuse an opponent of any or all of those things, as I myself have been accused. And no, you don’t get to say ‘Well duh, it’s true’ as the answer. I’ve also had that explanation given more than once over the years, which is its own brand of hilarious.

      3. @ Dave g

        And I’ve been watching it for 50 years. As a gay man and as an atheist, I have listened to people who should know better blaming me for every possible ill in Heterosexual society In general and in the church in particular, things that I couldn’t have had a thing to do with, that gay people in general haven’t had a thing to do with. But that never stopped anyone. I’ve been accused of hating God, Hating religion, Hating Jesus, and Hating Christians and Christianity, of being a far leftist, simply because I disagree that The Purely theological concerns Of religious prejudice should be incorporated into the civil law that governs all of us.

        And yet, even though I reject religious beliefs, I remain respectful of religion and religious people as long as they remain respectable. But don’t hand me a barrel of hate— not that you are— And expect me to pretend along with you that it is all lovely love. I can tell the difference. Don’t tell me that as a Democratic voter, I must be a financially Irresponsible enabler of the welfare state. I have argued for decades against the deficit spending that is crippling our economy, and may take the whole world down with it when the house of cards collapses. I even liked Nixon as a president for some of the things he did; I didn’t hate him because of the other things he did, I just didn’t want him to be president anymore. Don’t tell me that as an atheist, I must have no morals. Just because I don’t believe in God, does not mean I don’t believe in treating other people well, taking care of others in society, that I will molest children, or can’t be trusted around your wallet.

        These are, all of them, things I have been listening to for 50 years. I have no problem distinguishing between a principled conservative and a right wing hack. The problem is that I don’t see too many principal conservatives. What I see are people that are interested in power, money, dominion, and in the age of Trump, revenge. George will likes to cast himself as a principled conservative, and did so again in his recent diatribe against Trump and why he must be removed from office. The problem was, Georgie turned a blind eye to the tea party 10 years ago, turned a blind eye to the evangelicals barking with the devil, turned a blind eye to the hate directed it gay people in favor of Catholic dogma and theology. In the latter case, he finally admitted he was somewhat wrong. But it took him 10 years to see what was clearly in front of his face for 20- 30 years— massive deficits under Reagan, Bush and Shrub. He did find it in his heart to ignore the further deficits Mr. Obama incurred while spending us out of Shrubs depression.

        And no, I’m not saying that the Democrats are perfect. They have their faults, for sure. If A massive Blue Sweep happens in November, which it may well, I don’t see them using their advantage to pass a number of absolutely required constitutional amendments to fix the damage that the Republicans and the Democrats In general, and in particular Trump, have done. But at least they will not be passing tax cuts for billionaires at the expense of an ever ballooning federal debt, insisting that the right to bear arms of however many and of whatever type any crazy individual desires is a constitutional right, that the honorable tradition of separation of church and state is a myth, That someone’s religious beliefs should be forced on others who don’t share them, that money is speech, corporations are people, and that healthcare can easily be taken away from millions of people who need it, where we give money to foreign thugs And fighting wars we have no business being in. The Democrats will not be claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility while maintaining a $30 trillion national debt, nor claiming to be THE ONLY party of personal responsibility, supporting a man who’s never at fault for anything he has done, ever.

        Personally, I find your condescension towards the Caricatures of liberal belief that you keep espousing to be hypocritical and self serving in in the extreme.

      4. I don’t give a shit if you conform to leftist dogma. I really don’t see how I could have been any more explicit that I take issue with your rank dishonesty and trolling tactics.

        Please spare me the parading of your African priest. Since you’re such an expert on race it seems you would know that many Africans don’t necessarily have much solidarity with African Americans. You priest clearly doesn’t know jack about this country if, as you say (and that’s a big IF), he insists that the cold-blooded killing of George Floyd doesn’t have anything to do with race.

  18. Hello everyone. I must say I’m starting to lose track of things here. I’ve not cracked the comment thread code yet, and I’m seeing responses here and there and everywhere. I don’t have time to constantly scan the growing number of comments. I may miss something you said while saying you didn’t say it. Hopefully I have been clear, but not being a professional word smith, I could miss a few things. Long and short: I oppose racism in all forms, That’s all forms. i want our police reformed, and I want our society reformed. I think there are connections there.

    Being a caregiver, I’m very worried about the sudden spate of ‘Of course protests will lead to spikes in Covid-19 … chirp, chirp, chirp’. I also opposed those who were pushing to open too quickly two weeks ago (we won’t get into what I said to those who said C19 mainly impacts the elderly, so [quote Scrooge here]. I was a liberal agnostic through college and immediately after (that’s for you Neko) and I’ve been labeled a racist, sexist, homophobe and bigot with regularity over the years since I stopped considering myself that – which is a testimony I hear from many who once identified as liberal.

    My heart breaks for George Floyd and his family. Also the family of the police officers in question. They’re innocents. I don’t think we judge blacks on a select set of stats any more than we judge whites. I get structural sin and racism and America’s history. I also know enough and have worked with enough from other cultures and have studied enough not to think this is some unique American invention. And I refuse to say X must be true about white or Americans or America’ since in my decades of studying and teaching and lecturing on history, I can recall few cases where saying ‘X group can be assume to be [fill in evil here]’ produced a net positive.

    That’s a summary. Those who have discussed in good faith, thanks. Thanks Mark for not banning me. Neko behave yourself. And Andy, please read my last comment to you. That’s me in a nutshell and if it’s not good enough, I don’t know what else I can say. Except I must be moving on, times being what they are.

  19. Hi Dave,
    As I type this I can hear the roar of a crowd in our town square a couple of miles away. I’m very concerned because a couple of my 20-somethings are missing. That said, (I think we talked about this a few months ago when an ugly incident of racism happened at our school..) some really great movies with good food for thought are out there, and some of the best, more recent ones that don’t disappoint are:

    1. Greenbook
    2. Black KKKlansman
    3. Harriet (no, not boring or preachy–yes, you will cry)
    4. Thirty Years a Slave

    There is a reason why Jesus told so many stories–sometimes our heart can discern the truth before two teachers of the law get together with a dog in the fight.

    Of all of us here, Andy, has dedicated a lifetime to serving the disadvantaged–people that society discards. That’s what this whole Christian experiment is about, and what in fact we will be judged for.

    “Lord, Lord, when did I see you marginalized, and written off?” I know that some of my beancounter statistics that I used to whip out– won’t wash with Jesus –even if they are true.

    1. Anna Lisa – thank you for the kind comments. I have tried to serve those folks, but my wife is the real role model. Even now she is using teleconferencing to work with parents of young kids with disabilities. I have no idea where she gets the patience to do that; though she us more than patient with me.
      I note your comments about your youngster(s) with dyslexia – I wasn’t able to read until the start of fourth grade and I guess I did ok. Our youngest wasn’t able to read or write until sometime the start of 6th grade and she is head of media communications, social media and community awareness/relations for Hospice. It takes exactly what you and your husband are – role models and educators. I hope, know your 20 somethings will be fine.

    2. Thanks for those. I’ve been wanting to see 30 Years and just haven’t gotten around to it (movies I want to see and haven’t yet is a growing list, times being what they are). There are others as well worth watching. Of course Hollywood and history is always a tense relationship. I’m reminded of what Tom Hanks said about the late Richard Winters. They wanted Winters to be the main character in the Band of Brothers miniseries, but he wasn’t interested. With few exceptions, he had lived his life in that quiet peace he promised himself on D-Day. Finally Hanks and Steven Spielberg paid him a visit. While there, Hanks said he understood Winters’ reluctance. He told him something I chuckled at but is so true: The most accurate movies are usually about 13% accurate. With BoB, they’re shooting for 18%! As only Hanks could say it. Apparently it worked because Winters obviously joined the project. But sometimes you find things in the most subtle place in movies. And sometimes it’s so subtle you miss it (I’m reminded of how Gregory Peck lamented the movie the Guns of Navarone, since most see it is as an exciting action war movie, when it was supposed to be an anti-war movie).

      Oh, and I also have worked helping folks who are disadvantaged here and overseas as well, so I always appreciate those who do so. Now I’m off again. Ciao.

  20. @Andy
    Wow. Your wife and family amaze me.

    A couple of days ago I saw a woman get into her car with some drinks from Peet’s coffee, and her child (very autistic) began to yell and physically abuse her. My 22 and 29-year-olds witnessed it too. The kid’s Mom was so calm and kind. We looked away, not to embarrass her, but were *WOW-ed* by her grace-filled reaction.

    We all immediately thought of Mikey, our Downs nephew/cousin whom we adore. He is so funny and sweet. Even when he’s mad he yells names like “you spaghetti head!”. If his Mom crosses him he will tell her that she’s “not hot”, (he hears his cousins talking, and knows this is close to his Mom’s heart) intuitive little imp!–It’s hilarious. I think having Mikey in the family was the best thing EVER, to show us what unconditional love looks like. He absolutely softens everybody up and brings out the best. It’s a great thing to see how he brings literally nothing to the table in terms of material value, but he loves with his whole heart, and utterly adores his entire family. He is so obviously superior to us in so many ways!

    Buuuuut in general… my family–both sides. What can I say?? I wish I could brag, but for the most part I can’t. Money, bragging rights, material goods, bean counting, cosmetic surgery…uhhh…general asshole-ery seems to be a dominant theme. It’s breathtaking. Probably the best thing that ever happened to my own kids was losing everything we had in the financial meltdown last decade. It took the wind out of our sails for a while. They were forced from the bubble.

    I have to hand it to my parents. Their big family portraits with the whole lot of us–all of our families/ grandkids are simply stunning. Even service people stop and stare. Beautiful, beautiful huge family –that obviously listened to Humanae Vitae. Thank God our parents were so generous with us–so generous! (The only way we could have pulled it off) But the whole “team conservative” Reaganomics libertarianism was a terrible, terrible example. Toxic. I have a very strong hunch that there is some kind of heresy wrapped in with it all, that God likes us more than the riff -raff of the world.

    When I saw “Black lives Matter” on one of my siblings’ websites, I choked for a second but know *exactly* why he put it there. If he can look *prettier* in front of the world at the expense of a George Floyd, he wouldn’t have to even think about it. He’s the type that would vote for Trump *especially* if he campaigned to build a wall around a whole laundry list of minorities, and defunded them too. Really. My daughter calls him an “apex predator”. He’s my only brother, but he’s never told any of us that he loves us. The ethnic jokes that his kids swap with the other white supremacists in the family would make your hair stand on end. It actually reminds me of Trump and his “beautiful family” (–Frank Pavone). Only *my* family has the added bonus of being the very most catholicky catholics a Frank Pavone could muster up.

    When I eventually go back to our little home on my Mom’s property (down south), my golden brother will probably threaten me with the law again (in the name of Covid–but it has nothing to do with Covid.) He’s utterly infuriated my Dad gave us that small space on the property. It makes him apoplectic. His inner Karen has a boomer hissy-fit. The storm clouds of lawsuits will eventually gather.

    I’m sorry if this is a huge downer Andy. That people like your family exist makes me believe in the human race.I’ve come to terms with my own extended family (for the most part), and am actually pretty *relieved* I don’t have to act like things are a certain way to save face anymore. It’s quite freeing. My older kids totally GET what is going on. The MAGA weirdoes can’t fool them for 1 second because they’ve known what they are like before they could make the stupid hat! They know how the wheels turn behind their smiling, charming, self satisfied faces, *especially* when they are strolling to coffee and donuts after mass. It *is* scandalous.

  21. Hi Dave,

    Thirty years a Slave is extremely graphic, so know your tolerance level…Lupita N. the lead actress is amazing.

    I used to be way more suspicious of the Hollywood “Agenda”-so much so that I couldn’t appreciate the value of films. –altogether too scrupulous about it. I’m okay with artistic license when it comes to “true” stories. One thing that sticks out as particularly funny was this newsletter that my Dad subscribed me to. It was put out by some protestant pastor a “Rev. Wildman” :). Wildman would give a monthly synopsis of ALL of the smut that could be found on network TV and cinema. He would describe it with the most meticulous detail the lurid storylines. I realized after a while that I had started to *really* look forward to that newsletter! Scintillating little read. One of my sisters eventually asked me if I was getting the adults only newsletter from Rev. Wildman. We had a laugh attack considering how he did his fundraising, and how he explained such all consuming work to his wife and children. Lol!

    I’m reminded of Ricky Gervais and his positively irreverent and at times disgusting lampoon of Hollywood as the Golden Globes MC. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it a bit. I think it was Gervaise that had the nerve to insult the whole audience for harboring Weinstein *before* the whole scandal broke.

    Until then, I don’t think *anybody* was thinking about Hollywood as being so misogynist and backwards. I grew up hearing that The JOOS! control Hollywood, which meant something scary and antiChristian–somehow a *plot* of sorts. Believing something like that–so patently silly! ruined my ability to enjoy films as much as I could have. I regret that.

    Thanks be to God you have done charitable work here and abroad! My mother’s parents were kind of hippy-missionaries in Puerto Rico in the “30s. My mom was born in a little beach shack on stilts above the water in a tiny town there. They always loved Latin culture after that. They were staunch lifelong Democrats (Both graduated from Ohio State! 🙂 (I looked up “state with a nut mascot 😀 )

    1. Thanks for that. And yes, we’re proud of our mascot. 🙂

      I’m going to duck out of here. I came to see if Mark was going to shuffle off the political coil, but it looks like not. Not that everyone is a drag about it. Just like Andy – who I often disagree with – you’ve been quite insightful and even though I would likely disagree on a majority of issues, I respect that you try to be consistent and keep things on a civil level. Not all do, though that’s not my beef. I can spar with the best of them. I’m just looking for sites that are less in line with this or that political or media narrative – and that includes on the Right. I took my scars in the 90s as an evangelical pastor when I stood up against the uneasy alliance between many church leaders and the GOP. By my sights, the same seems to be happening today with both sides of the aisle jumping on the trend. That’s why I appreciated the local priest’s desire to push things to a higher level than merely squabbling over politically charged narratives. I’ll forever believe our troubles are ultimately about sin and a failure to be what we’re called to be, and if we focus too much on the particulars as defined by the world around us, we may end up embracing one sin to fight another.

      But again, thanks for the discussion. I must see that soon. I’ll balance it with a nice John Wayne movie, as I find focusing on sins is best when balanced by focusing on virtues, so we can keep things in perspective and not end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Take care.

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